Esquire — We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but... you know that new-car smell you love? Well, apparently, it's not just an amazing plus that comes with buying new wheels. It's actually a bunch of toxic fumes AKA carcinogens. We really can't have good things, can we?
A new study on car commuter's exposure to unhealthy chemicals says that we're all taking in above-acceptable levels of chemicals each time we ride a car. Sure, outdoor air pollution is one of the leading factors. But, even compounds inside a car are affecting us in some way.
What exactly is the scent made up of? Adhesives, fabrics, plastics, and other not-so-great things. "These chemicals are very volatile, moving easily from plastics and textiles to the air that you breathe," said University of California Riverside environmental toxicologist and co-author David Volz.
Just being in a vehicle for 20 minutes puts us all at risk. So, it's even more worrying when you consider how much time we spend in standstill traffic. We're basically inhaling a shit-ton of benzene and formaldehyde inside a car.
"Our study raises concerns about the potential risk associated with inhalation of benzene and formaldehyde for people who spend a significant amount of time in their vehicles, an issue that is especially pertinent to traffic-congested areas where people have longer commutes," the study said.
The only solution the study offers right now is to pop a window open while in a car (when you can, of course). Yeah... an open window in EDSA... and all the soot, smoke, metals, chemicals, and dust coming in. No, thank you.
Another alternative? Air out your brand new car to take away that new-car smell. Don't worry, you can bring the scent back with a new-car smell-scented air freshener spray.